Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting to Know You

So none of the typewriters I own, I have owned for more than a year. So, the past two years, I've been getting to know the ins and outs of the two typewriters that work at least. The first, and for awhile a single child, is my best working machine, the 1953 Royal Quiet DeLuxe. At first, I think I was wholly content with just the ribbon being dark and the words actually printing out unlike my previous Royal Royalite which I think from the start never printed quite that well.

For those of you who are somewhat familiar with the Quiet DeLuxe, you know what sort of problems you might have when you don't have the instruction manual to come with it. For me, I think the biggest problems I had were trying to figure out how to operate the touch system and the little knob on the right which I had for the longest time, I had no idea how it worked. Even after I managed to find a manual on It turned out to be a drive speed controller. Supposedly to adjust to how quickly you can type so it either speeds up the machine or slows it down to keep it from skipping.

I think it was about a month of working with it, fiddling with it just to get it to work the way I wanted to work. I still have yet to figure out the combination of touch type settings and the drive speed selector. Or whatever it's called. (I'm away from my computer where the manual is on. The iPad is good for blogging on the go). But sadly, the trouble just didn't stop at fiddling with knobs and whatnot. It overflowed into a few keys that when hit, would jump onto the advancing bar and send everything jumping ahead. So many pieces of typed work and letters sent out with huge skips.

Then one day, my friend Martin gave me a call and from there I adopted two more typewriters from being sent to the scrap yard. Or a worse fate, being keychopped! Although, I'm tempted to chop one of them since I have a feeling that it might, if anything, be not savable. Rusty type bars, completely falling apart and just vast vast amounts of rust.

But luckily, the more intersting of the two, I managed to get working again. A 1939 Underwood Noiseless Standard. I don't think I had ever seen a machine like that in my life. The way it worked was through a manipulations of levers and it would push a hammer-like device forward to punch the paper rather than strike against the platen.

I think since that underwood, I managed to start keeping up projects just to keep me sane from the banality of working in Wurster studios in Berkeley.

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